06. Wood textures
If there's one background texture that this year will be remembered for, it's wood .When complemented with familiar iOS buttons, slab serif type (think Jamie's Recipes by Zolmo (opens in new tab)) and some more subtle skeuomorphic design elements, this background texture can work extremely well. The Webr app, for example, juxtaposes a wood background with other, more slick elements rather nicely.
07. Pull to refresh
Users now seem to expect to be able to pull down the entire interface to refresh its content. This was made popular in Tweetie for iOS (opens in new tab), which has since become the official Twitter app since the social media giant acquired it from atebits (opens in new tab) in 2010. And it's now pretty much a prerequisite in apps that contain streams of data that are constantly changing. It also features in Facebook's iOS app and indeed the new native Mail app in iOS6, which is due for release later this year.
08. Clean & considered
As mobile phone screens become better, with almost indiscernible pixels, the user interface designer has more control over the detail in the final design. This probably one reason that skeuomorphic designs have become wildly popular. But, as we've seen with the likes of Android 4.1 Jellybean, a clean, digital approach can be inspired. Take a look at the Settings icon for instance – and indeed the white on black options that follow. Or the Lock icon that pulsates under your finger as you choose between unlocking your phone to the home screen, camera or Google Now. Clean, structured and considered... and not a beveled edge or texture in sight.
09. Hidden navigation
With only so much real estate on iPhone and other devices' screens, UI designers are constantly battling how to direct users to the content that matters to them. The solution may be hidden navigation. Take the Facebook app for instance – the main screen is taken up with your feed, but tap the navigation button top left and the nav menu shoots in, giving you access to your messages, events, friends, pages and so on. This navigation replaced the grid of icons in an earlier app. The same applies to Android and iOS – enabling you to drag notifications down from the top of the screen. Used correctly, hidden navigation can work brilliantly and focuses in your user to the main functionality of your app without anything getting in the way. Path (opens in new tab) is another app that does this well.
10. Tight focus
There have been a raft of apps that focus on doing one simple thing, and doing it well. The UIs for these kinds of apps obviously differ depending on the functionality of the app, but there's always one similarity – the app is one or two screens, with the main screen presenting itself whilst the app is performing its main function. Take AirCassette (opens in new tab) as an example. Although it's undoubtedly skeuomorphic in its approach, it does one thing – plays your music whilst displaying the track name on a retro cassette.